The Tuscaloosa County Commission held their regular bi-monthly meeting Wednesday morning where they approved policies for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and discussed funding for various upcoming infrastructure projects.

The Commission approved Emergency Rental Assistance Program policies in accordance with requirements from the federal government. David Howell, the assistant county administrator, said the commission has never implemented a rental assistance program before, necessitating the measures approved Wednesday.

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These policies were written in accordance with the guidelines from the Alabama Housing Finance Authority and mirror those passed by the Montgomery County Commission. Any Tuscaloosa County resident familiar with the state's portal will find consistency with the county's portal should they switch over.

Howell told The Thread that as of 5 p.m. Tuesday evening, 535 applications for rental assistance had been started via the Tuscaloosa County online portal. Several have been denied, 3 have been withdrawn. Others are within various stages of completion, requiring more information. 403 users have not finished the application process.

The Commission also authorized the execution of a grant agreement from the Alabama Department of Transportation. ALDOT awarded $716,800 to fund the installation of a traffic signal and roadway improvements on M-Class Boulevard at Mercedes Drive I-20 westbound ramp intersections. This will benefit Mercedes-Benz U.S. International and Schnellecke Logistics.

Finally, multiple projects were approved for District 2 using Commissioner Jerry Tingle's discretionary funds, including $3,000 to buy equipment for the Lake View Fire District for equipment expenses as well as $2,200 for a new Pre-K playground at Brookwood Elementary. The Commission also approved spending $3,648.87 to match a Hazard Mitigation Grant grant for Lake View's Outdoor Warning Siren.

Other miscellaneous items on Wednesday's agenda included:

  • The Commission approved a motion to surplus a Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office vehicle to the Coker Volunteer Fire Department. The 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe has roughly 140,000 miles and will be given to the Coker VFD at the cost of $1,000.
  • Two new air conditioning unit chillers were installed at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse and the Sheriff's Office over the weekend, which caused temperatures in parts of the building to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the repairs. The cost to date of the units came out to $387,750 with additional expenses yet to be calculated. The digital system that allows engineers to remotely monitor the units goes online Thursday morning. These units are designed to last 20 years.

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